Dan Levy， Did student exchange in Japan
Answered Sep 13
Hey I’m a westerner so obsessed with Japan that I went to high school there and learnt Japanese， that being said I also really like lots of things about China and Korea. The whole East Asia region greatly interests me and I’m currently learning Chinese.
I’ll list off a few reasons but you’re not gonna like them.
#1： Chinese media is awful
A huge generalisation I know but as someone who actively tries to seek out media from places I don’t know， Chinese media tends to be bad. A lot of the stories are quintessentially Chinese or based on Chinese myths which makes it hard for a western audience to relate. Animation and story design often feels like a poor imitation of Japanese and Korean work rather than its own thing. Plot lines tend to be incredibly predictable often having a very obvious bad guy with no nuance. I know that writers and publishing companies are limited by the censors but come on， can’t be that hard. The same idea even extends to music. Most people know at least one or two Japanese or Korean songs (probably gangam style) but nothing Chinese. The way to people’s hearts is through good pop culture.
#2： China doesn’t have a very positive image in the West
My school has over 50 Chinese international students. Us local kids only know the names of the two or three who bother trying to talk to us. I know that language barrier is hard and all that but you are studying abroad， try to leave a good impression. In comparison we only have about 6 Vietnamese kids and 5 Japanese ones and everybody is friends or personally knows at least one of them. There is a slightly justified perception in the West that Chinese people are secluded and rude. I hate to say this but there is a shred of truth to this racism. Lots of countries perceive Chinese tourists as rude， loud and travelling in large groups without involving themselves with the locals. This is changing in recent years but there is still progress to be made.
#3： Western media and education regarding China
Yeah ok this one is entirely our fault. Whenever China appears in the media its always about pollution， The Great Firewall， the scars of Maoism on Chinese society， spratly island debates， Tiananmen square massacre， ghost cities， that one skyscraper in Suzhou that looks like a pair of pants， you get the idea. The Chinese state hardly ever gets positive attention in our media. Compare this to Japan and South Korea， media about them is pretty much always positive or is at least shining light on societal problems in a more nuanced manner. People in the West see Japan and South Korea as admirable friends. China is generally viewed as an awkward developing giant at best and as an enemy at worst.
I mean no offense to Chinese people or China with the above. I’m trying to explain the situation in my country and in my media as I have perceived it. I personally love China. The spicy麻婆豆腐. The incredible skyline of Shanghai. The economic success of a state which has lifted millions out of poverty. I hope that China can patch up its flaws and that the West can educate itself to better relations and cultural understandings between the two worlds.
I dunno personally I think the Suzhou pants are amazing
Shawn Zheng， studied at University of Western Ontario
Answered Sep 28
Why not China？
While Hong Kong has had great years in making movies， there are fans of Hong Kong movies， but nowdays， it has been declining a lot.
Westerners are obsessed with Korea because K-POP or K-drama， they have done good job in packaging， advertising， they can be very eye catching for people. Also， the pop industry in Korea is highly competitive even cruel， stars strive to excel. In contrast， top Chinese stars get 10x more paid than Koreans， with the recent trend of litte fresh meat(young handsome idols)， stars as long as they have lots of fans， they are treated almost like gods， for some movies， 80% of the total production cost has gone to the young idol who does not even know how to really act. So the young idols do not need or want to improve， and obviously they just have 20% of the money for all other costs and salaries for other experienced actors. The quality of many outputs are low
Japan offers more things， Manga， food， AV， cartoons. Many Westerners see mangas and cartoons like Dragon Balls when they are little， so they get familiarized with Japanese culture， meanwhile China is just strange for them. Japanese people also advocate their culture very well， for example， in a cook show， they will tell you every details with fancy words about a Japanese cumcumber， how to cut it， why it is so different. While Chinese use the same type of cumcumber， and they are acutally originated from China， Chinese will just tell you it is a cumcumber， we cut it then we put the sauce… a good example is Japanology from NHK. So Western people will say Wow， how refind the Japanese culture is. Meanwhile， many people just get an impression of China from their television， they just see it is just a giant wired place people who all eat dogs， no human rights， dirty， rude， and most of all， communist. So people won’t bother to learn the culture if it is so bad. Twisted western media has done a great favor here
Answered Sep 27
I don‘t think the politics and propaganda affect that much， there are also many young Chinese who are obsessed with Japan and Korea.
The reason could be simple： Japan and Korea produce higher-quality entertainments compared to China.
China has a long and remarkable history and culture which also influenced Korea and Japan， but old cultures are no longer attractive nowadays. What really makes others obsessed are products of entertainment (Jpop， Koop， anime， etc) rather than what you can only see in museums. Even fans of， like， samurai or ninja are mostly affected by Japanese movies or games which are also entertainments.
The problem of China is that she possesses a tremendous treasure of history and culture but don’t know how to turn them into modern entertainments. There are good entertainment products， but low in quantity compared with the two neighbors.
The reason of this situation is also simple： China is poor.
Despite being the second largest economy in the world， China‘s GDP per capita is still amongst the poor countries - there are so many people that when China’s GDP is divided by 1.4 billion， it becomes nothing. Besides， Japan and Korea have become developed society for a long time， while China just became not so poor a few years ago. Only those who don‘t worry about food will think about better entertainment.
so be patient， I have the confidence that when China becomes wealthy and the more open-minded younger generations come to power， China can as well produce entertainment that are beloved by the world